The Richie Kotzen-led FORTY DEUCE delivers a slamming, crisp and cutting album of Hard Rock here with "Nothing To Lose". Every track is strong and kicks serious ass, justifying guitarist-vocalist Kotzen's reputation as a primary force on today's Hard Rock scene. The album opens fittingly with "Oh My God (I Fucked Up Again)", setting the tone for the DEUCE's catchy rockers explicating Kotzen's personal woes and traumas. He does a great David Coverdale impression while retaining his own identity through his plaintive, sincere delivery.
"Oh My God" also offers up some pretty tasty, hot lead guitar work while raucously bringing the house down. "Start It Up" heads directly into full bore anthemic rocker territory, while "Say" and "Heaven" briefly bring the album into mournful, torn-apart blues dirges fused with the Deuce's characteristic Hard Rocker-treatment. Indeed, the production here is a switchblade cutting through all in its path, resonating with the pounding of a band playing on 11 throughout the entire album's duration, the richness and resoundingness of the drums, guitars and Kotzen's blues-dripping voice preserved in perfect warmth and clarity. Strikes quite the perfect balance!
The band takes probably their most serious rocker with the ZEPPELIN-PURPLE heavy drum groove of "Next To Me", taking it down a few notches with the melodic "Standing In The Rain", then coming out with a stand-out track in the markedly brilliant and emotional mid-paced, ballad-mixed-with-casual-rocker "Wanted". The album closes with title track "Nothing To Lose", using essentially the same formula as "Wanted" while making it just different enough with a dreamy John Lennon/Beatles progression and refrain. The song's clean-guitar and vocals outro (also the album's intro) recalls a latter-day NIRVANA feel, reminding me of the mid-90's Alternative flavourings brought in perhaps for accessibility's sake. The album balances this slight Radio Rock element while retaining old school Rock credibility extremely tastefully, however, making this album a worthy addition to any Hard Rock collection. (Online January 5, 2005)